1 Kings and 2 Kings was originally one book in the Hebrew text and the identity of the author is unknown. There is no date when the book was written.
The main events within 1 Kings are David’s death, Solomon’s reign, the division of the kingdom and Elijah’s ministry. This book, contrast the lives of those who live for God and those who refuse to do so. Israel was near the end of the golden years of King David’s reign and begins with a united kingdom. The kingdom was glorious and God-centred under David, the most devout king in Israel’s history. 1 Kings ends with a divided kingdom and the death of Ahab, Israel’s most wicked king of all!
The history of both Israel and Judah was much affected by Elijah’s prophetic ministry. Elijah was one of the first in a long line of important prophets sent by God to His people. The Northern Kingdom had no faithful kings throughout its history. Each king was wicked, actually leading the people in worshipping heathen gods. There were few priests remaining from the tribe of Levi (most had gone to Judah), and the priests appointed by Israel’s kings to replace them were corrupt and ineffective. With no king or priests to bring God’s Word to the people, God called Elijah to rescue Israel from its moral and spiritual decline.
What happened? The reason for Israel’s sudden decline appears simple – they failed to obey God. The people forgot to acknowledge God as their ultimate leader and tragically conformed to the life – styles of these evil leaders. Their blatant wickedness gradually could only be met with judgment from God, who allowed enemy nations to arise and defeat Israel and Judah in battle as punishment for their sins.
Individuals today are vulnerable to the same evil forces that brought about Israel’s decay – idolatry, greed, jealousy, lust for power, weakening of vows and superficiality in our devotion to God. As you read about these events in Israel’s history, see yourself in the mirror of their experiences. Failing to acknowledge God as the leader of our lives, is the first step towards ruin!